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Lack of Grip Strength and Cognitive Problems

An interesting question has been proposed recently, can body strength be used to predict brain health? In particular, a recent study focused on hand grip strength. Hand grip strength has been used in a variety of studies to assess cardiovascular health, mortality rates, general quality of life, and cognition.

For older Americans, poor handgrip may be a sign of impaired cognition and memory, a new study suggests in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. They found that every 5-kg reduction in handgrip strength was associated with 10% greater odds for any cognitive impairment and 18% greater odds for severe cognitive impairment. Researchers interpreted the findings to mean that a "reduction in grip strength is associated with neural degeneration, which underscores the importance of muscle-building exercise." Handgrip strength may provide an easily-administered marker of cognitive functional status. However, using handgrip strength as a standalone measure for cognitive decline would be advised against. Using it as a screening battery or as part of a full neuropsychological battery could prove useful. Further research is required to understand the causal direction of these relationships, as well as determining the implications of grip strength for real world functioning in older adults. A drawback to studies regarding grip strength in the elderly include confounding variables such as recent illnesses, chronic illnesses, sleep schedule, exercise routines, or smoking, which will likely have a large impact on the results. The researchers also noted that "interventions aiming to prevent or delay cognitive dysfunction should also implement measures of handgrip strength as an assessment tool for determining efficacy."

If you live in the New Jersey or New York area and would like to schedule a neuropsychological evaluation for yourself or a family member in order to determine if there have been any potential cognitive changes that would be atypical or unexpected for your age please contact Dr. Corey Burchette at 201-577-8286 to inquire about scheduling an appointment at the New Jersey Memory Center which is located in Verona, New Jersey. Easily accessible from many points in North Jersey (including Montclair, Upper Montclair, Cedar Grove, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Caldwell, West Caldwell, North Caldwell, Totowa, Wayne, Little Falls, West Orange, and many more).

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